Evidence has emerged which suggests that several hundred Indian nationals may be stranded in the Najaf province of Iraq, unable to return home because their employer refuses to return their passports.
All the workers are reportedly employed by an infrastructure and construction company. Amnesty International India spoke with some of these workers, who said they have not been paid salaries for the past five months.
Baljinder Singh (name changed), one of the migrant workers, told Amnesty International India over the phone: "The employer holds all our passports and refuses to return them. We have been restricting ourselves to the company premises since the conflict began because we are scared. Without our passports we can't leave this country, and every passing day makes us feel more and more unsafe. We just want to go home."
Baljinder Singh said that the workers had raised this concern with the Indian Embassy in Baghdad, which asked them to provide their passport details via text message. The workers sent the details on the morning of 19 June and are now awaiting a response.